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Monthly Archives: March 2017

Tinsel Town of Cinematic Glamour

Museums and Theatres in Hollywood
The Entertainment Museum shows how TV shows and movies are made and you can sit in Captain Kirk´s chair or actually walk through the set of Cheers and sit on Norm´s seat. Nearby, on Hollywood Boulevard, is the Grauman´s Chinese Theatre. It opened in 1927 and in 1968 it got the historic-cultural landmark status. To build the Theatre, Grauman needed permission from the government to import the stone Heaven Dogs, the original temple bells and the pagodas from China.

The Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Paris has Père Lachaise, Los Angeles has the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. It’s known as the resting place of Hollywood’s immortals and became a place where pilgrims visit the tombstones of their idols. It’s not an ordinary graveyard with the palm trees, the glamorous mausoleums and even video screens which show life stories. In summer you can occasionally have a picnic dinner at the graveyard and watch a movie at the same time.

Hollywood’s Outdoors
In LA nobody seems to walk, but the mountains around LA are great for hiking. From the trails along the Santa Monica Mountain you can overlook the Pacific Ocean and the forested Angeles Crest. Or watch some celebrities walking their dogs off-leashed just uphill into Hollywood’s Runyon Canyon.

Daytrips form Hollywood
In Venice Beach you’ll find outdoor cafés, street performers and lots of excitement and entertainment. You can rent a bike to ride the cycle path to Redondo Beach, go to Santa Monica’s pier and take a break at Zuma Beach along the Pacific Coast Highway. You can scuba dive at Catalina Island in Anaheim or explore the wild nature of the island by fishing, hiking, camping and kayaking.

Disneyland
Another cultural stop is LA is the LA County Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Don’t miss the Getty Center if you love great art, beautiful gardens, amazing architecture and stunning views. If you really want to do the whole of Los Angeles you complete your trip with a visit to Disneyland.

Screenwriters

The ever-escalating demand made by the public dictates the specific demand of Hollywood screenwriters. The drive to stay afloat prods them on to explore fresh ideas and go out of their way to write extraordinarily-brilliant scripts. These scripts are used for the many movies, TV serials, video games, or commercials that are being churned out on a daily basis. To gain a competitive advantage, Hollywood writers have to be highly disciplined and write daily.

The rat-race of life is riddled with a lot of tensions for Hollywood screenwriters. Most of the raw talents here are required to prove themselves repeatedly. The one aspect that distinguishes great writers from those of mediocre caliber is the writing techniques they have learned either during their formal training period or through years of training and writing for Hollywood producers. Screenwriters in Tinsel Town are a fortunate lot because they work shoulder-to-shoulder with a number of illustrious personalities of the film industry. Working in such a collaborative environment, Hollywood screenwriters continue to learn while they earn. All vie with one another to give a new dimension to the silver screen.

Looking down the annals of film production, we can trace the origin of movies to the script that monitored the process of its making. Although screenwriting has come to be acknowledged as an indispensable part of films, TVs, or commercials, screenwriters are often given less deference than they deserve. Once a movie is a hit, most the limelight and accolade is hogged by the actors, directors or the producers. Screenwriters toil over several months and even years to provide the foundation for movie producers and actors.

In a nutshell, screenwriters in Hollywood lead an inglorious life, replete with trepidations. Yet, the glitter of cinema life is enough to lure writers to make a bee-line for Hollywood. The number of such aspirants is growing by the day. As such, it is highly recommended that you work with an experienced screenwriter to develop your movie script.

Hollywood Producers with Fresh Ideas

That basic idea and game went through many stages of development before even being pitched to the network, but once produced, it became the most successful game show in the history of television we now know as “Jeopardy!” In 1986 Griffin sold the show, along with “Wheel of Fortune” (created shortly after) to The Coca Cola Company for a staggering $250 Million in cash.

Today, the landscape of programming and deal making is vastly different, and creating such simple concepts that haven’t already been produced is difficult. To our benefit, the outlets and opportunities for new TV shows is literally a hundred-fold what it was in the 60’s. Hollywood producers and development executives work full time to create or find those new concepts to sell to TV networks, and more and more are using the Internet to source new material.

The Television Writers Vault is a valuable tool being used by producers scouting new projects, and for writers (aspiring or professional) to market their concepts and scripts direct to the television industry. Writers can find professional advice on formulating concepts for today’s thriving and competitive programming world, as well as understand the inner-workings of the television industry to streamline projects in the most positive direction.

If you think being an outsider from Hollywood makes it impossible, I know first hand that’s not true. In my first year as a development executive at Merv Griffin Entertainment, I brought in a concept created by a journalist in Florida. The idea was written up in a two-page outline, and explored the simple idea; “How far will an ordinary person go to help a stranger in need?” The idea could have also been pitched as “Pay It Forward meets Candid Camera”. Our producers immediately saw the potential for comedy and entertainment value, and Merv signed the new writer to an option deal. The project was sold on our first pitch to Disney, and eventually packaged for production where it still sits.

Just recently, an aspiring writer from Alabama, Timothy Centner, sold 3 projects (all ideas for reality-based programming) to a producer who uses The Television Writers Vault for finding new projects. Prior to that, Jon Stewart of Illinois sold his idea for a reality-based program built around his own life to a head executive for Fox Television Studios.

You may have the most inspiring story or script any producer could read, but unless you can boil that story or concept into a brief synopsis with a highly marketable “logline”, a producer will never invest the time in reading the entire script or treatment, leaving no chance of any deal to be offered.
A “Logline” is a one or two sentence description that tells the basic idea and purpose of a show. Loglines for the sake of pitching a project are similar to a TV Guide description, but more specific in describing the idea of the show. This is the catalyst for increasing the odds of selling any script or idea to Hollywood.

A great logline should provoke interest and inspire the TV producer to see it’s potential. The following are examples of could-be loglines for current television shows:

– “Ordinary people face their fears by competing against each other in outrageously devised stunts” – Fear Factor

– “A likeable husband’s marriage and tolerance is tested by the constant intrusion of his overbearing parents and dim-witted brother” – Everybody Loves Raymond

– “Twenty women will court and compete to win the affections of one man who will narrow the selection until he must decide on his one true love.” – The Bachelor

– “Contestants’ general knowledge will be tested when given the answers to questions they must then form.” – Jeopardy

Between Hollywood and Bollywood

Which one is superior, Hollywood or Bollywood? The discussion is endless. Though Hollywood is quite ahead of Bollywood in terms of revenue, Bollywood’s influence in the world film industry is gaining new heights. Hollywood’s earnings do not depend on ticket sales only. It has adopted the proven ‘franchise-formula’ in which a big part of the revenue or income comes from other sources such as TV networks, magazines, home-videos, etc. No doubt, Bollywood is also considering this aspect to promote its business. But revenue is not the only factor that one should take notice of, there are other aspects also to be considered, such as story, music, song-and- dance sequences, photography, technology, etc.

The main difference between Hollywood and Bollywood commercial movies is that song-and-dance sequences is an essential feature of Indian films. Professional play-back singers sing songs which are lip-matched by movie characters played by actors and actresses. While, there is no such thing like song-and dance in Hollywood. Therefore, they are attracted towards Bollywood. Bollywood films are a good source of entertainment presenting anything and everything, quite like a Santa Claus gift bag, whereas Hollywood films focus more at the cinematic knowledge.

But, things are changing very fast these days. A time may come when there would be no difference in Bollywood and Hollywood. Particularly after the success achieved by ‘Slum-dog Millionaire’, can we expect more movies where Bollywood come together with Hollywood? In the coming times, you will see Barbara Mori paired with Hrithik Roshan in an Indian film ‘Kites’, and likewise, an Indian actor Anupam Kher will act in Hollywood’s top director Woody Allen’s film. After winning Oscar awards for an Indian film Slum-dog Millionaire, the difference between Bollywood and Hollywood has reduced and it is becoming a joint venture. May be, one day we see Sylvester Stallone dancing around trees in an Indian film and Hrithik Roshan playing James Bond in a Hollywood film.